The Women Behind Pathlight HOME

Belinda Newkirk

Belinda Newkirk, the Employment Counselor in our Employment Center, is new to Pathlight HOME - but not really! In fact, Belinda feels she’s “come back home” to the people, community, passion, and job she loves. That’s because she was Manager of the former Goodwill Job Connection Center, which closed in March 2020. Belinda began working in an Administrative role at Goodwill in 1993. Rising through the ranks, she became Manager when the Job Connection Center opened on W. Colonial Drive and a wonderful partner for Pathlight HOME. “As I continued to work at Goodwill, I found it [employment counseling] was my calling,” she says. “And when an opportunity arose to assist in my community, I jumped on it.” She prayed for an Employment Center opening, “God provided it,” and both Belinda and Pathlight HOME benefitted!

Barbara Jones

Barbara Jones is Manager of our Sobik’s Subs Café, a social enterprise located at Maxwell Garden. Fresh off of her formal culinary training, with a love of cooking since childhood, Barbara came to us in 2015. Her culinary talents may be why she originally came onboard, yet Barbara believes, “The Lord put me here to do his job. He’s assigning to my hands to help people of all types.” She’s a cheerleader for their successes and loves when residents stop by to share a life happening. It’s a pretty usual sight to see Barbara preparing a sub with a listening ear to the customer’s success or dilemma at the same time. Barbara says “everybody likes to eat,” so conversation and food are a natural pairing. “I have a reason to be here,” she says. “Until HE tells me it’s time to go, I’ll be here!”

Barbara Jones
Georgina Medina

Georgina Medina

Georgina Medina is our Corporate Office Executive Assistant. She is proud that her accounting and bookkeeping role helps Pathlight HOME help others each day. With her professional mission of growing in finance and accounting, her personal “God-given calling” of helping others, and our organization’s mission to change lives, she believes this is right where she belongs. “It’s a beautiful mission,” she says. “It’s great that I came into my field from another country,” says Georgina. “And I know what it feels like to have no place to stay. That’s why I love to see [residents] be restored and renewed.” Georgina strives to do the best she can in her department and has been doing so for five years. “We share the same heart. That’s why I stay.”

Gail Smith

Gail Smith, Case Manager for our Homes for New Beginnings Program (HNB), is in her ninth year with us. Gail’s ability to listen, build trust, and encourage HNB residents to “find themselves first” has helped them reclaim life skills, family relationships, work abilities, and more that went by the wayside during their journey into homelessness. Inspiring her clients to find a career or purpose that fulfills them really makes Gail tick. When she sees people achieve their goals, she feels a sense of accomplishment right along with them! “This doesn’t feel like work. It’s natural and exciting for me,” she says. “When you love what you do, it’s easier to push and encourage yourself to do more and achieve your vision. It’s about making a difference in people’s lives…including my own.”

Gail Smith
Eclair De Oliveira

Éclair DeOlivera

Éclair DeOlivera is our Administrative Assistant at Maxwell Terrace & Maxwell Garden. Humble and hardworking, Éclair has been with Pathlight HOME for 13 years. Hers is usually the first face present and future residents see when they come into our offices. Éclair knows that when people need housing, “They come in stressed. They’re scared and don’t know where to go. I feel compassion and want to help.” Explaining the application, answering queries, and providing referrals when needed are essentials to her. “I want to help any way I can for them to get the housing they need,” she says. “I just love my job,” she explains. “I feel like I’m doing something useful. My job has a purpose. I am helping someone else in the process. I don’t have the need to do anything else!”

Celebrating Pathlight HOME’s 29th Anniversary

Still Dreaming (Virtual Event)

April 1st 2021 12-1pm

The late Reverend Fred Maxwell, Co-Founder of Pathlight HOME, always intended for Pathlight HOME to continuously grow. With every homeless housed, he sought to house more. In his words, he was "still dreaming" of ways to continue to make a difference and change lives. 

Today, Pathlight HOME dreams of expanding housing services to Orlando's homeless families. To learn more register for Still Dreaming. 

$29 for 29 Years!

To help us celebrate our upcoming anniversary, we're asking for donations of $29. All funds raised will be used in support of future housing for homeless families. This includes permit costs, furnishings and more.

Pathlight HOME Timeline 1991 - Present

Resident Update: James’s Story

Once Homeless…still Stable at HOME

We love the opportunity to provide our supporters an update on residents about whom we’ve posted via Pathlight HOME’s blog and social media. How are they doing now? Are they still progressing along the path from homelessness to a changed life? What does that look like?

 

For James, whose story we first shared in March 2020, a few months after he moved into our Restore Program at Maxell Terrace Apartments, life looks much calmer and more stable. In fact, he feels his days might seem boring to an onlooker. Yet, he’s not bored at all!

 

“Things have changed a lot for me [since he’s been in Restore],” James says. ”I’m a bit more financially stable. I don’t get into trouble. I feel cared for and I still appreciate living here. I’ve come a long way from living in a tent.” 

 

This man who “went from king of the hill to the bottom of dirt” is content now to live in his efficiency apartment, pay his rent and bills, work with his Case Manager Audrey Sandford (whom he praises to the hilt as “an awesome lady”), and chat with several friends he’s made nearby.  He is extremely proud of the rebuilt relationship with his daughter, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University who lives in Baltimore, and can’t wait to meet his new granddaughter. As he reminisces about his two and a half years of living in a tent in the woods, he doesn’t know how he ever survived, especially with his health conditions. He is still grateful for the Hope Team, a program of the Health Care Center for the Homeless, and that they guided him to Pathlight HOME’s Restore Program.

 

With referral assistance from Audrey, James was finally able to obtain his disability benefits in November 2020. Having been previously denied these benefits three times, he had pretty much given up hope of that ever happening. “Money doesn’t solve everything, but it sure does help,” he says.

 

James is now proudly paying his rent and monthly bills through a checking account, his “first one in many, many years.” He is happy to pay rent, as with all the support he receives from Audrey and the staff, “It’s a steal!” As he reached Social Security retirement age this month, he plans to apply for those monies instead of disability, in order to garner the benefits of the many years worked in his profession.

 

No matter the source of his benefits, the most important thing is that James now has the stamina and desire to do what he needs to do to live a changed life, and not just to survive. He says he feels calmer and “doesn’t need much.” If that’s not continuing on the right path, we don’t know what is!